Improving Air Handler Efficiency in Houses

Improving Air Handler Efficiency in Houses

TitleImproving Air Handler Efficiency in Houses
Publication TypeConference Proceedings
Year of Publication2004
AuthorsIain S Walker
Conference NameACEEE Summer Study on Energy Efficiency in Buildings
Volume1
Pagination341-352
PublisherAmerican Council for an Energy Efficient Economy, Washington, DC
Conference LocationPacific Grove, CA
Abstract

Although furnaces, air conditioners and heat pumps have become significantly more efficient over the last couple of decades, residential air handlers have typical efficiencies of only 10% to 15% due to poor electric motor performance and aerodynamically poor fans and fan housings. Substantial increases in performance could be obtained through improved air handler design and construction. A prototype residential air handlerintended to address these issues has recently been developed. The prototype and a standard production fan were tested in a full-scale duct system and test chamber at LBNL specifically designed for testing heating, ventilation, and air conditioning systems. The laboratory tests compared efficiency, total airflow, sensitivity to duct system flow resistance, and the effects of installation in a smaller cabinet. The test results showed that the prototype air handler had about twice the efficiency of the standard air handler (averaged over a wide range of operating conditions) and was less sensitive to duct system flow resistance changes. The performance of both air handlers was significantly reduced by reducing the clearance between the air handler and cabinet it was placed in. These test results showed that in addition to the large scope for performance improvement, air handler fans need to be tested in the cabinets they operate in.

LBNL Report Number

LBNL-54760